Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fred: Downplaying "Property" as a Goal of Government

Hello, everyone.

Christa, thanks for a truly wonderful (and somewhat scary, at the end) article that is, indeed, informed, informative and thought-provoking. And not partisan at all. I encourage everyone to read it. For my part, I've no objection to sharing our semi-private conversation, under the conditions you outline (identities purged, etc.).

Wikipedia offers the following summary on the "Pursuit of Happiness" question raised by Cal:

"The famous phrase is based on the writings of English writer John Locke, who expressed that "no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions."[1]

The first article of the Virginia Declaration of Rights adopted unanimously by the Virginia Convention of Delegates on June 12, 1776 and written by George Mason, is:

That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

Benjamin Franklin was in league with Thomas Jefferson in downplaying protecting "property" as a goal of government, replacing the idea with "happiness."[2] The United States Declaration of Independence, which was primarily written by Jefferson, was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The text of the second section of the Declaration of Independence reads:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Sorry, this is just an excerpt, for the references you'll have to go to the Wikipedia article itself. Just Google "Life, Liberty, Property" or "L, L, Pursuit of Happiness" and you should find it.

Best, -Fred

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